Missouri’s senior member of Congress is retiring in February..

Southeast Missouri congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson will become the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association. She’s been in Congress for 16 years and was elected to her ninth term last month. She says the new job will continue her work with rural America. She will leave February 8th and starat her new job on the 11th. “I have always been a champion of rural America because I believe the vitality of it depends on the hard work and the optimism of the people who make our communities special,” she says.

The governor will call a special election after she leaves. Party committees will select nominuees who will run to replace her.

Emerson says she will be in charge of an 800-person organization and doubts she will do much, if any, lobbying once enough time has passed during which is is barred by federal law from lobbying her former colleagues.

AUDIO: Emerson teleconference 15:54